Newbie Hiker? Here’s Your Hiking Starter Kit

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/Javier Pardina
If there is one outdoor athletic trend you can’t ignore right now it’s hiking. Thanks to the efforts of brands like Outdoor Voices and Eddie Bauer’s campaign #whyihike, the growing interest in this sport is undeniable. Whether you are scaling high peaks or casually strolling in the forest, hiking is a sure fire way to boost your endorphins, move your body and connect with the outdoors without the distraction of technology or an overcrowded gym.

And while many trails have been closed due to COVID-19, they're slowly opening back up—making this the time to plan your summer hikes. Take your time, research your route (and double check closures!), and prepare as best you can so all goes smoothly on the trail. Just take it from Eddie Bauer pro-athlete Melissa Arnot Reid. “Pick well-traveled, scenic trails in public lands near you," she says. "Most of these trails in National Parks and National Forests are well marked so you don’t need a map. Start small, without goals or the need to get to the end of the trail. Enjoy every step, the fresh air, and stop and smell the flowers. If you are breathing through your nose your pace is perfect.”

Having proper gear on the trail is key, and obviously dependent on the forecast so check the temps and precipitation closely. Pack an extra dry layer or two depending on the temperature, and a rain shell if you see some precipitation on the horizon. If it’s warm and sunny you’ll want to bring a dry top and change out your sweaty one! “Be prepared for anything by always carrying a lightweight down jacket and a rain jacket," Arnot Reid says. "If you are prepared for any weather, even a less than ideal day can still be a great day on the trail.”

Your 12-piece hiking starter kit:

Photo: Girlfriend Collective

1. Sports bra: Stay comfy and cozy in this Girlfriend Collective crop top ($38).

Photo: Girlfriend Collective

2. Bottoms: Pair your crop top with a matching high-rise legging ($68).

Photo: Evo

3. Light shell: It’s always a good idea to have a thin shell for varying weather conditions. This one from The North Face ($99) will be your new go-to.

Photo: Patagonia

4. Warm jacket: A fair trade fleece from Patagonia ($139) will keep you warm and comfortable as you ascend and descend trails in cooler temps.

Photo: Hoka

5. Hiking boots: Not only are these Hoka hiking boots ($185) comfy, but they can handle just about any terrain.

Photo: Lululemon

6. Hat: The perfect hat from Lululemon ($39).

Photo: Hydro Flask

7. Waterpack or water bottle: Always stay hydrated. Make sure to take small sips along the way to avoid intense dehydration. It’s also a good idea to have a backup insulated water bottle into your pack.

Photo: Eddie Bauer

8. Backpack: To carry all of your essentials like a trail map, snacks, and extra layers. This Eddie Bauer pack ($90) can hold it all.

Photo: L.L. Bean

9. Socks: Warm socks from L.L. Bean ($35) will not only help you break your boots in, but they will keep your feet nice and warm for the day’s journey.

Photo: Ray-Ban

10. Sunglasses: Classic sporty sunglasses from Ray-Ban ($169) with a g-15 polarized lens to protect your eyes will do the trick.

Photo: Naturopathica

11. Sunscreen: Keep is natural and keep it chock full of SPF. This sunscreen from Naturopathica ($64) is a great line of defense for your skin.

Photo: Meijer

12. Snacks: Nutrition on the trail can make or break a long adventure. If your hike is short make sure to carry a little something like a Larabar to keep you sustained. For longer, more aggressive terrain, plan accordinglythink yummy trail mix with nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit or an almond butter sandwich on sprouted bread. Hydrate throughout your hike.

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